Thursday, April 16, 2015

True Story

When you think about Jonah Hill and James Franco starring in a movie together, there are certain expectations that come to mind: insult humor, dick jokes, maybe a bromance or two. True Story throws all of that out the window and casts the two Apatow alums in dramatic roles without a joke to be heard in the entire film. While each man has previously dipped his toe in dramatic waters independently from one another (Moneyball, The Wolf of Wall Street, 127 Hours, As I Lay Dying), this is the first time they've been cast as leads in a serious project opposite each other, and they both dive in with conviction.

True Story
Co-writer/Director: Rupert Goold
Starring: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ex Machina

Suspenseful, stylish, and refreshingly smart, Alex Garland's Ex Machina is the sci-fi film we've been waiting for. Garland made a name for himself writing movies like 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd, but this is his directorial debut — a chance for him to execute his own vision on screen — and he ably takes on the challenge, forging an impressive first feature that tackles the idea of artificial intelligence with some actual intelligence.

Ex Machina
Writer/Director: Alex Garland
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander


Monday, April 6, 2015

Furious 7

I'll just come right out and say it: Furious 7 is the best Fast & Furious movie. It's a wonderful blend of the two things these films do best — cheesy sentimentality and jaw-dropping action — and it's packed to the brim with comedic moments and transcendent set pieces. It also contains a perfect goodbye to Paul Walker that left me wiping away tears. It's everything you could want in a Fast movie, and more.

Furious 7
Director: James Wan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, et al.



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

In 2014, the excellent FX original series Fargo explored the consequences of Steve Buscemi's character burying thousands of dollars in the snow in a universe shared with the Coen Brothers' 1996 film. The Zellner Brothers' Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter touches on the same topic, but their story is ostensibly set in the "real" world: their film, which debuted last year and is getting a limited release this week, follows a 29-year-old girl named Kumiko (Rinko Kikuchi) who discovers a waterlogged VHS tape of Fargo, believes that movie's opening proclamation that it tells a true story, and ventures from Tokyo to the United States in an attempt to find the money. Beautiful and beguiling, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter takes us on a quixotic quest toward an unspecified location in the American Midwest that holds much more than the promise of cash: a woman's soul is on the line here, and you can feel her determination with every step.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter
Co-writer/Director: David Zellner
Starring: Rinko Kikuchi